With everything that is going on in the world amongst the COVID-19 outbreak and crisis, it is easy to focus on our personal needs. However, during this time it is essential that we ensure the safety and well being of the most vulnerable. This includes minority communities, the homeless, and immigrants. As previously discussed, New Zealand has controversial immigration policies, so for my final blog post I wanted to examine how they are addressing the needs of these people during this time. According to their official immigration website, the government has decided to postpone a number of VISA programs. They explain that this is intended to be a temporary measure as they are aiming to “avoid potential public health risks that would result if we encouraged travel by individuals while New Zealand is at a heightened COVID-19 alert level”. Currently their Refugee Unit is closed until further notice; all interviews are canceled and document processing is on hold.
Reading this information is extremely frustrating, especially from a justice standpoint. Justice is human-centered and interpreted from the most vulnerable. Especially during a time of crisis, to ensure that the needs of a population are met, it is essential to help these people. Given the already lagging politics of immigration policy in Australia and New Zealand, this outbreak is an opportunity to redefine many of the injustices these minority groups have been subjected to. As the rest of the world begins to understand and heal from this crisis, I hope that we can address what was illuminated during this time.
“Migrant and Refugee Information.” Immigration New Zealand, www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19/migrant-information.